Flir has come out with a new compact thermal imaging camera – the C2. The Flir C2 is more designed for professional users, in contrast to the Flir ONE, which is more of a “personal” device.
Flir says the C2 is the world’s first full-featured, pocket-sized thermal camera designed for building industry experts and contractors.
Although barely larger than a smartphone, the Flir C2 has some decent specs.
80 x 60 px Thermal Resolution
Flir designed the C2 with an 80x60px thermal sensor – probably their Lepton core – which produces 4,800 individual temperature measurement data points in each image.
MSX Image Enhancement
The C2 also feature’s Flir’s MSX contrast image enhancement technology. Basically, the MSX technology uses information taken from a visual camera sensor and blends it into the thermal image. This works a lot better than other cameras’ “image blending” modes that simply overlap thermal and visual imagery. You can see how well this works in my post about the Flir E4.
A very large button allows for quick capturing of thermal, visual, and MSX image data. You could sort through these later using Flir’s free PC and Mac application. There’s a separate power button as well.
Built-in Display and Battery
Unlike the Flir ONE, which piggybacks off an iPhone, the C2 has a built-in 3″ LCD display with 320 x 240 px resolution, and a rechargeable battery (3.7V LiPo).
The display automatically reorients itself, whether you hold the C2 camera in landscape or portrait orientations. AND it has a capacitive touchscreen for quick and easy access to menus and settings.
The built-in battery delivers up to 2 hours of runtime. It recharges inside the camera (suggesting it is not user-removable), with a full recharge taking 1.5 hours.
Memory and USB Connectivity
Internal memory stores “up to” 500 sets of thermal and visual images, in jpg format. You can get them off the thermal imaging camera and into your PC, Android, or iOS device using a micro USB cable.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like the C2 offers any WiFi, Bluetooth, or wireless connectivity options. This is probably to help preserve battery life and keep costs and complexity down.
Flir says that you can stream video over USB, although they’re not very clear about how that will work.
Flir says that the C2 is designed especially for building applications, and that it is great for showing things like hidden heat patterns that point out energy waste, structural defects, plumbing clogs, HVAC issues, and other problems.
Since the C2 is so easily pocketable, professionals in other trades will probably find it very appealing as well.
Price and Availability
Flir says that their new C2 has a “sub $700 MSRP.” This probably means it will be priced at $699.
The Flir C2 is expected to be available starting in March 2015.
More Specifications and Features
- 80 x 60 px thermal resolution, 640 x 480 px visual camera resolution
- Wide angle lens with 41° x 31° field of view
- Minimum focusing distance: 0.15 m (0.49 ft.) thermal and 1.0 m (3.3 ft.) for MSX
- Object temperature range –10°C to +150°C (14 to 302°F)
- Accuracy ±2°C (±3.6°F) or 2%, whichever is greater, at 25°C (77°F) nominal
- Thermal sensitivity: <0.10°C
- Image frequency: 9Hz
- Adjustable emissivity: matte/semi/glossy + user set
- Iron, rainbow, rainbow HC, gray color pallets (rainbow HC is a high contrast color mode)
- 2 hrs runtime, 1.5 hrs recharge time
- Size: 125 × 80 × 24 mm (4.9 × 3.1 × 0.94 in.)
It comes with the camera itself, a battery (built-in), lanyard, power supply/charger with EU, UK, US, CN and Australian plugs, printed getting started guide, USB memory stick with documentation, USB cable.
Buy Now(via Amazon)
The C2 seems like a handy compact thermal imaging camera for more casual professional and inspection use, but I would be happier if the price was a little lower, say in the neighborhood of $500. At $700 it’s definitely a much better buy than the several “imaging thermometers” out there, but it’s still quite pricey.
I like the idea of the Flir C2 as a compact and pocketable thermal imaging camera over the ONE and Seek Thermal smartphone thermal camera modules. It costs more, but it offers more as well, such as the MSX image enhancement functionality, built-in LCD touchscreen display, and rechargeable battery.
However, since this a standalone model, the line had to be drawn somewhere, and the C2 lacks any wireless connectivity. This means that if you take an image or measurement that indicates trouble or something that should be shared with peers, a supervisor, or a client, then you have to dig out a USB cable to transfer images over to another device for sharing.
On the other hand, if you want or need wireless connectivity, then you might also appreciate some of the other features higher-end and pricier models have, such as a removable battery pack or video capturing mode.
A lot of people keep saying that the prices of thermal imaging cameras will come down, and they are, but not in the way you might think. The C2 is priced very low, but it also lacks many of the features of $1000+ models.
The C2 is more of a minimal-frills thermal camera, and it looks pretty decent for what it is. Although I have a Flir E4 (an excellent thermal camera that goes for $995 via Amazon), and occasional access to even better models, I find the C2’s pocketability and quick point and shoot functionality to be quite appealing.
It’ll be out in March, and with a ~$700 price tag.